Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:49 am
 

Derrick Rose says he doesn't want Boozer traded

Derrick Rose says he doesn't want the Bulls to trade Carlos Boozer. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Earlier this week, a report surfacedthat Derrick Rose supported a theoretical trade of Carlos Boozer for Pau Gasol. If true, it would be the first time Rose has been involved in any sort of aggression insertion into management's plans, as he usually takes a backseat to such discussions, and has crafted his image very carefully to indicate that he just plays basketball, no matter who he's with. It's saved him a lot of trouble. And after the most recent report, the Bulls have already responded to the report with a predictable denial from Rose. From Bulls.com:  
“I heard about it after the game [on Monday],” said Rose. “That’s something I wouldn’t say to anyone, that I need someone to come to this team, or I’m trying to get rid of someone on this team. It was all false and that’s something I would never do.”

Asked if he talked to Carlos Boozer, who was reported to be involved in a potential deal for Gasol, Rose said had spoken with his teammate about the rumors.v “He should know, but I talked to him a little bit,” Rose said. “I think he already knew they were false. It’s something I wouldn’t do to anyone; especially trade him to any team. It was all false.”

In the past, Rose has expressed nothing but content for his teammates, and on Wednesday, he reiterated that sentiment.

“I’m good with the teammates I have,” Rose said. “I’ve always been saying that. The team that we have, we’ve been winning games, and we’re not in the position to look to trade anyone right now.”
via Pain-free Rose says no trades needed for this Bulls team | Blogs.Bulls.com.

It's rare that players or team websites even address such rumors, but this was a pretty solid move on behalf of Rose and the Bulls. It protects the image that Rose isn't involved in the superstar-chasing or star-meddling that has become rampant in this league. Whether Rose is or is not involved in such discussions is immaterial, only the perception matters, as it furthers the protective shield of humility that has for the most part kept Rose free of both speculation and criticism. 

And assuming Rose is being honest, it's good to hear, because frankly, the trade doesn't make much sense at all. The Bulls would almost certainly have to surrender an additional asset to get Gasol, which means you're trading your second best player and sacrificing the depth that has helped make you one of the best teams in the league, in order to take on a player who has become inconsistent from an emotional and mental standpoint, and in many ways is simply a taller, slightly better version of Boozer. The same defensive questions would exist and be covered up by the Bulls' defense, the same soft short-range-jumper game would be employed, the same questions about their role on the team would be asked.

It's not a lose-lose for the Bulls, it's just not a win or a loss. It's a sideways step. The Bulls got out in front of this to try and cut off talk. The last thing they need is to be dragged into drama and speculation over trades.

Look how that's going for the Lakers, despite the winning streak they're on.
Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:03 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:05 am
 

Shumpert's Lin dunk involved a couch

Iman Shumpert and Jeremy Lin's dunk contest dunk would have involved a couch. (Getty Images)


Iman Shumpert had to bail out of the dunk contest Wednesday due to nagging knee injuries that have hobbled the Knicks' shooting guard from time to time. It was disappointing not only to see the athletic Shumpert who New York fans either love or are completely ambivalent about drop out, but because point guard sensation Jeremy Lin was supposed to help Shumpert with his dunk, and well, everyone's gone crazy seeing Lin do just about anything. 

So what was it exactly that they were going to do before the Jazz' Jeremy Evans replaced Shumpert in the dunk contest?

Remember how Jeremy Lin had slept on Landry Fields' and his brother's couch for weeks because he wasn't sure whether the Knicks would cut him or not? From the New York Post:
Yes, he and Jeremy Lin had talked about doing a dunk in which Shumpert would vault over a couch — the symbol of Lin’s humble sleeping conditions.

“He was going to help me out,’’ Shumpert told The Post. “Once my knee was so sore, I started thinking about it: ‘Am I going to be able to jump over the couch?’ All kinds of things to think about.’’
via Knicks’ Iman Shumpert planned to use Jeremy Lin in Slam Dunk contest - NYPOST.com.

On the one hand, it's a bummer that we won't get to see Jeremy Lin, preferably lounging on the couch or feigning sleep while Shumpert goes bananas over him, or tosses the ball up to him as Baron Davis did to Blake Griffin in the car last year. But on the other...

This was supposed to be Shumpert's time to shine. It's bad enough that the dunk contestants are taken away from the rest of not being involved in All-Star Weekend and into the media rush from one event to another, but to have your whole thing be centered around someone else? There's enough room for Linsanity during the regular season and throughout All-Star Weekend without having him take over the spotlight when Shumpert was going to be doing all the work.

All for naught, though, as Shumpert will try and get healthy, and Evans, who very much wants to be a part of the dunk contest, gets a go.

(Via Posting and Toasting)
Posted on: February 23, 2012 1:10 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 1:12 am
 

Report Card 2.22.12: Knicks cruise, Griffin flies

Posted by Ben Golliver  

It was all lollipops and gumdrops for the Knicks on Wednesday night. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.


New York Knicks Wednesday was a highlight factory for the Knicks, who dominated a reeling Hawks club from the jump to take an easy 99-82 victory. Jeremy Lin continued to show he can play the role of distributor, finishing with 17 points and 9 assists, as Carmelo Anthony was able to score 15 points on 16 shots. Sharpshooting Steve Novak was big off the bench again and new rotation additions Baron Davis and J.R. Smith connected on multiple alley-oops. The best part: New York enters Thursday night's showdown with the Miami Heat with none of its players having played more than 34 minutes on Wednesday.
Blake Griffin This dunk. Ridiculous. Timofey Mozgov makes a cameo, too.
New Orleans Hornets Don't look now but the hard-luck Hornets have won four out of their last six games. Impressive, considering they began the season 4-21. On Wednesday, the Hornets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers by getting a whopping 21 points and 13 rebounds from trade piece Chris Kaman plus an astoning 17 rebounds from rookie Gustavo Ayon. This would be an A+ for the Hornets but they are supposed to be tanking.
DeMarcus Cousins The 16 points and 16 rebounds will jump out at you, especially because he notched nine boards on the offensive glass. But the 6-for-20 shooting (!) in 27 minutes brings his night back to Earth. Kings won't complain, as they got a nice come-from-behind road win in Washington to close out the first half of their season.
Boston Celtics The hard-luck Celtics got pounded again, as Oklahoma City's All-Star duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 59 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists and five steals. The poor Celtics basically went seven players deep without starting point guard Rajon Rondo, who was serving a suspension. They were down 20+ in the first half after allowing 72 points at halftime. Oh boy.
JaVale McGee At this point, most normal people would be embarrassed. JaVale McGee simply doesn't seem to have that self-awareness gene, so he continues to force his coach to bench him for mindless acts. This time: a volleyball goaltend deep into the stands.


E FOR EFFORT
Luke Ridnour (17 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds and one amazing game-winner)
Blake Griffin (27 points,12 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and too many ridiculous feats of athleticism to count. An All-Star effort all-around.)
Chris Paul (36 points, 9 assists, 2 steals, 1 rebound on 11-for-16 shooting. He guided the Clippers into the break with a 20-11 record. MVP talk is in the air.) 
Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:13 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:20 am
 

Blake Griffin launches from deep for dunk video

Posted by Ben Golliver

Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin took off from real deep to dunk in traffic over multiple defenders during the third quarter of a Wednesday night game against the Denver Nuggets. One of those defenders happened to be a familiar face: Timofey Mozgov.

Griffin received a pass at the top of the key from All-Star guard Chris Paul and attacked the middle of the paint, with Mozgov flying by behind him helplessly. He then elevated straight to the rim, launchpad style, and Nuggets big Kenneth Faried got trapped below him after take off. Griffin finished the thunderous dunk with one hand, and the force of the impact caused him to stumble to the ground after he landed.

Here's the video of Blake Griffin taking off in traffic for a dunk against the Denver Nuggets.

Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:38 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 5:58 am
 

Kobe, Magic say it's time for Buss to meet Bryant

Kobe Bryant says he and Jim Buss should meet; Magic Johnson agrees (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Just days after Kobe Bryant challenged the Lakers' front office to make a desision regarding Pau Gasol and Ken Berger of CBSports.com filed a scathing and revealing report on the inner dysfunction of the team's front office, Bryant told reporters that he and Jim Buss should meet for a conversation. And he wasn't the only Laker great to suggest the idea.

On a conference call Wednesday, Magic Johnson told reporters that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is "not running the team" anymore and that Jim Buss is making all the decisions. Johnson, who is as close to the Lakers organization as anyone, considering he has a statue outside their building, said that the answer was for Bryant and Buss to sit down and have a conversation. From the L.A. Daily News:
"(Bryant) just wants to be informed as a team leader and a future Hall of Famer and a guy who has brought five chapmionships to the Lakers," Johnson said. "He wants more communication, probably like he did when Phil Jackson was here and he worked well with Mitch. I don't think Kobe feels he has that type of relationship with Jim.

"What probably has to happen is they need to sit Kobe down and sit Jim down. Dr. Buss was the master at taking you to lunch or taking you to dinner and going over what he was thinking and what he wanted to do with the team.

"Jerry West was good at that as well. Kobe, Mitch and Jim just have to get on the same page and things will be OK."
via Magic: Bryant, Jim Buss need to have face-to-face chat - LA Daily News.

After the Lakers shootaround, Bryant told reporters when asked if it was time for he and the younger Buss to sit down and have a conversation, "Um, perhaps." That was all, but that one word speaks volumes. If it was no, he could have said "I don't know" or "I'm just a player" or even "I'd be open to it." But that's not it. It's Bryant trying to push for change in the organization, to right the ship. This team isn't over, it's not done, it's not through trying to win championships and still features three great players and one or two good players. Bryant's not willing to sit by and let this situation get out of control.

Meanwhile, Magic Johnson is sticking up for the franchise player, going with the star trying to make the most of the end of his career instead of the son of his long-time friend and employer Jerry Buss. (Read the excellent "When the Game Was Ours" by Jakcie McMullen for more on Magic and Buss' friendship.) It's incredible that not only is Bryant openly questioning management, but that the greatest player in franchise history has openly said the GM is not in charge and that the managing owner needs to communicate better with his team. This kind of thing simply doesn't happen. And yet here we are.

The Lakers held a players-oly meeting this week to try and focus past all the distractions and it worked in a blowout win over Portland. As of this writing, they lead the Mavericks by 12 in the second quarter Wednesday night. So the players are doing their part to work past the issues. Will the front office?

Strange days for the most successful franchise in the NBA.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:33 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:38 pm
 

Luke Ridnour game-winning buzzer-beater video

Posted by Ben Golliver

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Luke Ridnour hit a game-winning, buzzer-beating floater to defeat the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at the Target Center.

With the score tied at 98 with seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Ridnour inbounded the ball to guard J.J. Barea, who eventually worked it back to Ridnour. Receiving the pass with only a few seconds left on the clock, Ridnour attacked the paint and lofted a right-handed floater over Jazz big man Al Jefferson.

The shot provided the winning margin, 100-98, and sent the Timberwolves bench into hysterics. Ridnour was mobbed by his teammates, including forward Anthony Tolliver, who lifted him into the air. Ridnour finished with 17 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds on the night. The win improved Minnesota's record to 17-17 entering the All-Star break.

Here's the video of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Luke Ridnour hitting a game-winning floater at the buzzer to defeat the Utah Jazz. 


Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:04 pm
 

Report: Murder suspect Crittenton arrested again

Javaris Crittenton was reportedly arrested again.(Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

Former NBA player Javaris Crittenton has mostly stayed out of the news since last August, when he was charged with murder in the shooting death of a 22-year-old mother of four in Georgia.

That changed on Wednesday morning, when Crittenton was reportedly arrested again by authorities in Georgia.

TMZ.com reports that Crittenton was arrested for "speeding and obstruction of an officer" after getting pulled over for driving 60 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone in a "black Porsche." 
When the cop wrote up the ticket, Javaris refused to sign it, something you have to do to acknowledge receipt of the citation. As a result, we're told the officer asked Javaris to step out of the vehicle -- and Javaris refused again.

We're told words were exchanged -- and after the officer reasoned with Javaris, the former NBA player agreed to step out of the car ... at which point he was placed under arrest for speeding and obstruction of an officer. He was subsequently transported to Clayton County jail, where he is currently being processed.
Police charged Crittenton with murder last year, alleging that he shot into a crowd of people after being robbed of more than $50,000 worth of jewelry. The FBI had to track down and arrest Crittenton in California after he apparently fled across the country after the incident.

Prior to the murder rap, Crittenton was best known for his involvement in a 2009 dispute over gambling debts with then-Washington Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas. The dispute ended with Arenas getting suspended for bringing guns into the Wizards locker room. Crittenton was released by the team shortly thereafter.

Crittenton, now 23, played just two seasons in the NBA, including stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and Wizards. He was cut by the Charlotte Bobcats during training camp in 2010 and had been playing in the D-League. He averaged 5.3 points and 1.8 assists in 16.4 minutes per game during his NBA career.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:38 pm
 

David Stern admits lockout season 'not perfect'

Posted by Ben Golliver 
David Stern admits that the play this year has been "uneven." (Getty Images)

Critics, including Naismith Hall of Famer Charles Barkley here, have decried the quality of basketball during this lockout-shortened season. Scoring is down, shooting percentages are down, injuries are causing players to lose a greater percentage of a team's games with the compressed schedule, back-to-back-to-backs have drawn Heat from basically everyone and there have been plenty of blowouts already.

In an interview with USA Today, NBA commissioner David Stern acknowledged that he is aware of the criticism and that the compressed season, which attempted to fit 66 games into roughly four months, was not an ideal situation.
I don't think the media will let go of it for a while because it's all too delicious every time there's a blowout or every time there's a loss, you're saying this horrendous lockout-shortened season. … It's not the perfect season. It has its unevenness to it. It has coaches making decisions that they think are best for them and teams — like how to space minutes, how to deal with practice or not, scrimmage or not, how to deal with training. Some trainers are changing, actually, the nutritional direction of their team — emphasizing, perhaps, more massage for recovery than previously.

So this is enabling teams to see whether these very significant sums of money they're spending on lots of talent are going to be making a difference in the competitive landscape. And several teams believe it has. But they're treating it as trade secrets, which they don't want to share.

However, Stern defended the schedule, as he has done before, stating that sacrificing 16 games and compressing the season was a worthwhile sacrifice to better the game with a new collective bargaining agreement.
I think the 20% of the games of one season is going to turn out to have been a modest price to pay for the fundamental change in the league's operation going forward. And by that I mean its competitiveness and the value of its franchises.
To boil this down, Stern is basically saying, "Charge it to the game." NBA television ratings and online interest are way up, the Jeremy Lin phenomenon has essentially erased any of the ill will still left over from the ugly labor negotiations and attendance numbers league-wide are strong. The league can expect a number of big-market teams to be a factor come playoff time, thanks to the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Bulls and Mavericks. The Miami Heat, a major star-studded breadwinner, show no signs of slowing down.  

The complaints are sure to fade by the time the playoffs roll around and once it's time for the NBA Draft, now just four months away, the league's calendar will officially be back on track. Stern can make a public admission like this now, because the storm has essentially been weathered.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com